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Melmoth the Wanderer

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In the autumn of 1816, John Melmoth, a student in Trinity College, Dublin, quitted it to attend a dying uncle on whom his hopes for independence chiefly rested. John was the orphan son of a younger brother, whose small property scarce could pay John's college expences; but the uncle was rich, unmarried, and old; and John, from his infancy, had been brought up to look on him with that mingled sensation of awe, and of the wish, without the means to conciliate, (that sensation at once attractive and repulsive), with which we regard a being who (as nurse, domestic, and parent have tutored us to believe) holds the very threads of our existence in his hands, and may prolong or snap them when he pleases.
On receiving this summons, John set immediately out to attend his uncle.
The beauty of the country through which he travelled (it was the county Wicklow) could not prevent his mind from dwelling on many painful thoughts, some borrowed from the past, and more from the future. His uncle's caprice and moroseness,-the strange reports concerning the cause of the secluded life he had led for many years,-his own dependent state,-fell like blows fast and heavy on his mind. He roused himself to repel them,-sat up in the mail, in which he was a solitary passenger,-looked out on the prospect,-consulted his watch;-then he thought they receded for a moment,-but there was nothing to fill their place, and he was forced to invite them back for company.

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